Taking FOOD WATER AIR…and ART on the Campaign Trail

August 10, 2015

Pat McGarry of the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission, Ann Marie Miller of Art Pride New Jersey, Senator Kip Bateman of NJ Dist. 16 and Adam Perle of Art Pride New Jersey

While we won’t elect a new President until 2017, the campaign is already hot and crowded and the State Assembly incumbents and their challengers aren’t the only ones on the New Jersey campaign trail this summer. That field includes a minimum of 80 candidates in all 40 NJ legislative districts and arts advocates have a few ways of reminding them that the arts are important to New Jersey voters.


I hope that many of you remember ArtPride’s kickstarter campaign last May called FOOD WATER AIR ART in collaboration with the Printmaking Center of New Jersey. With the help of over 300 people the campaign raised nearly $19,000 to produce a series of prints and posters using the inspired work of Newark artist Lunar New Year.

ArtPride NJ is now in the process of distributing those posters to all New Jersey legislators, keeping in mind that many of them are incumbents running for reelection this fall. It’s a great way to thank elected officials for their support of the arts in New Jersey and remind them that the need for state funding continues to grow. At the same time, constituents who live in their district present them with a beautiful reminder that the arts are as important as food, water and air to grace their office wall.

Linwood Oglesby of the Newark Arts Council with Assemblyman Ralph Caputo of NJ District 28.

Here are some photos of poster deliveries that have already occurred. All posters have been well received as you can see by the smiling faces in the photos that we will continue to post on the ArtPride website until Election Day.

If you are interested in joining the teams that deliver them, please contact us at the ArtPride NJ office.

Right after the New Jersey primary election in June, ArtPride New Jersey circulated a survey to all candidates for state Assembly to discover how those running for office stand on state arts funding, arts education and what personal ties they have to the arts not only in their district, but in their personal lives. We’ve already begun to post responses to the surveys on our website and invite you to keep an eye on this site as it continues to fill up with revealing insights. Most importantly, we hope you will keep state funding for the arts a concern for New Jersey’s quality of life as you enter the voting booth this November.

Segue to National Voter Registration Day this Sept. 22 and it’s important for nonprofit organizations to understand how they can participate in voter registration and celebrate democracy.

Nonprofitvote.org is holding a free webinar this Thursday at 2 p.m. that will offer more details on how your organization can get involved, host your own voter registration event, spread the word, and more. Last year alone, more than 400 organizations and 10,000 volunteers registered more than 155,000 people to vote, and this website contains resources that help nonprofit groups incorporate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services proudly and without fear.

Lastly, here’s another kickstarter project that links arts and activism and though I wish I thought of this first, I’m so glad someone did! Next Stop: Democracy! is hiring local artists in Philadelphia to inspire celebration and participation on Election Day and improve the voting experience.

Their kickstarter campaign ended Saturday and raised over $15,000 to engage 60 artists to design and create signs that will identify polling places through exciting public art. Follow their blog to learn about the variety of signs being created and how the campaign pulled together.

Think we should do this in New Jersey?

Ann Marie Miller is the Director of Public Policy at ArtPride New Jersey. Miller is a regular contributor of the Dodge Blog.